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B2B decision-making is getting very emotional | B2B Marketing | B2B buying process | Market research | Customer insight

As the desire to get emotionally close to your customers grows, Nick Hague says it’s market research that makes it all possible

The challenge facing B2B marketers

As consumers we’re used to highly personalised, relevant and emotionally engaging marketing from the likes of Amazon, Red Bull and Lego. Amazon, for example, can predict with impressive accuracy the products you’ll most likely be interested in. Red Bull uses extreme sports to push people to achieve the impossible, and Lego inspires people to be creative and express their imagination.

Unfortunately, B2B brands are lagging far behind their B2C counterparts when it comes to

marketing that resonates and evokes emotion

, despite the wealth of customer data now available. Many brands fall into the trap of speaking to businesses rather than the individuals within them, as well as focusing on rational aspects such as product features and price rather than emotional appeal.

The need to truly understand customers

The solution for B2B marketers is to truly understand the needs of customers and how to meet them. Contrary to popular belief,

emotions are at the heart of B2B decision-making

. In fact, around 90% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, based on emotion rather than logic. Furthermore, business professionals are around 50% more likely to buy a product or service that demonstrates personal value through emotional appeals.

This presents a great opportunity for B2B brands to better target and engage different audiences through more tailored messaging. This shift in approach will help brands establish the

all-important emotional connection with customers

and differentiate itself from the competition.

The role of market research

So, how can B2B marketers gain a deeper understanding of their customers and improve their campaigns? The answer is market research.

When it comes to developing winning B2B marketing campaigns, buyer persona research can provide invaluable insights into customers which can spark a ‘big idea’. Therefore it’s essential researchers speak to actual buyers about actual buying decisions rather than second-guessing.

Persona profiling humanises a target audience through identifying the common demographics and characterising individual needs, buying behaviours, and pain-points. These insights help to paint a picture of a customer from their perspective.

For example, personas can help create messaging that will resonate strongly with customers by combining product truths with what the customer wants to hear and what the brand wants to say. 

Personas can also act as a helpful guide for determining what channels to communicate through, the type of content that will resonate most, and at what times the audience will be most receptive to the content.


Market research plays a vital role in creating marketing campaigns that will resonate on an emotional level. By using persona profiling and buyer persona research, brands can gain a much deeper understanding of who their customers are, what matters most to them and how best to reach them. 

Creative and strategy teams can use these insights to develop ideas that appeal to customer goals, pain-points, decision drivers and triggers. Media planning teams can then ensure the right messages are reaching the right people at the right time.

The B2B Marketing UK Agencies Benchmarking Report 2019

This year’s league table features a record-breaking 95 agencies, and is chock-full of analysis, commentary and interview with the agencies themselves and on the state of the market.

Discover the UK’s top B2B marketing agencies

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